Hey, It's Jade! and family

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making It All Worth It...

This evening, Preston played on Lego.com for a little while.  He wanted to print a picture so I let him, then he ran off to the kitchen table with the paper.  He then asked me how to spell a a couple words and next thing I know, he comes up to me with the paper folded into a card...
The front of the card (a schoolbus)
The inside of the card.
It says: I don't need one of thoose I love you and homeschool  (after I made him a card, he added the second part: I like your card).

I almost cried when he gave me that and I read it.  What a sweet boy!  Maybe I am getting through to him!  Maybe this IS the right thing to do.  I asked him, "Do you REALLY love homeschool?  Even when you fight with me about it?"  He said, "Yes, I love it!  Sometimes I don't like the hard parts."  

Besides the sweetness, he wrote it all himself... I only helped him spell "those" (which he added an extra 'o' to anyway, haha) and 'school.'  He even knew to put the apostrophe in "don't"... I have to say I'm completely impressed!

Homeschool Recap, Week 23

This week we did a Presidents Unit Study, that also included info on American symbols, songs and words.

- We talked about why we celebrate President's Day, the duties of a President and read Madam President.
- Preston colored the Presidential Seal, then wrote "Barrack Obama is the President."  Unfortunately, he was not in the best of moods this morning and the writing assignment turned into a full-on battle.
Maybe it's because I spelled "Barack" wrong?  Oops!
 - After a break, we continued on and did a President's Day Spin & Tally
- We talked about the White House and read Pets At The White House
- Preston looked through the Big Book of U.S. Presidents
Lots of interesting facts in this one!
The thing Preston liked most about this book, was looking at all the different "First Ladies."  Haha!

-Today went much better than yesterday, whew!  We started off reading an interesting book about George Washington's Teeth, called... well, George Washington's Teeth.  Poor guy had all kinds of dental problems!  But, Preston could really relate to the story since last week's crazy teeth happenings (and he's going back on Wednesday for more dental work too!).
- For math we did the Spin & Tally again from yesterday, and a Probability Coin flip from the same site.  She has such adorable worksheets and activities!
- We discussed the White House a little more and Preston wrote "The President lives at the White House."
- Then, thankfully I remembered a video (VHS) we bought at a library sale just a few months ago about George Washington, so we watched that.  It was about his time as a General.  We discussed how his actions and attitude made him a great man.  
- And Preston colored a print out of a cherry tree and wrote "I can not tell a lie," after we talked about the story of George cutting down the tree and admitting to it.  Let's hope some of that sticks!
- Finally, we read a silly story called George Washington's Cows.

-  Preston spent the nite with his Grandma Jill & Grandpa Steve on Tuesday nite, then we had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning... so school was called off for the day.  The dental visit didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped, so I figured he earned the day off.

- Today we talked about Abraham Lincoln, starting off with a pretty sad book called Abraham Lincoln Comes Home, about the train that brought the late president's body from D.C. home to Springfield, IL.
- We talked about the bald eagle.  We read an article in his God's World News Magazine, and he colored a picture and wrote "The bald eagle stands for freedom."
Got through it without fighting this time!
- We played a 'First to a Dollar' game.  The game board had 100 pennies, then the players draw out of a bucket and can get a penny, nickel, dime or quarter and move that many spaces (1, 5, 10 or 25) and the first to $1 wins!  This REALLY helped Preston get the hang of which coin is worth what - we've been struggling with that, but he seemed to get it down during this game!
Yay math games!
- We also did a worksheet where he had to add pennies and nickels and tell me how many cents he had.  He did really well with the addition!
- There was a dot-to-dot that revealed a hat like Lincoln wore, and he also colored in a picture of Honest Abe.
He gave Abe pink pants & purple jacket, ha!

- We reviewed the devotions we read this week, and Preston illustrated one of the themes in his notebook.  He drew a picture of himself with God putting a force-field around him for protection.  "God gives protection."
- We played the 'First to a Dollar' game again... he won again, too.  And we finished the other side of the worksheet adding Pennies & Nickels, and then adding Dimes.
- Preston colored the Flag, while I read Stars & Stripes and we talked about the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then he wrote on his paper "I pledge allegiance to the flag."

- Later we looked at the book Oh, Say Can You See and listed to the CD it came with, which includes the Star-Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, My Country 'Tis Of Thee and more.  We sang and danced around!
Trying to read along to the song.
- Preston also read John, Paul, George and Ben on his own (most of it anyway).
- Later in the day, Preston was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, pretty much all the way through.  So... we'll see if it sticks!  He was doing his best to turn it into a song so he'd remember... maybe that'll work!

Library books we checked out for this unit study:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dinosaur World

Back in September, I bought some tickets to Dinosaur World, in Glen Rose, from Groupon.com.  Time flew by, and I realized they would be expiring here in just a few days, so we headed out this morning!  We didn't tell Preston where we were going, just that it was going to be "cool."  He was pretty surprised when we finally showed up to the building with all the big dinosaurs all over it!

The place is pretty sweet, with over 100 life-sized dinosaurs to check out and read about.  Preston got to take part in a fossil dig... he found a shell, a pretty rock and a tooth of some sort.  We also had a picnic lunch and he got to play on the playground.  It was a beautiful day for just such an outing.  And Callen cooperated the whole time too!  
He got eaten!
Reading the dino info.
His fav dino... the trash-o-saurus.
That's a tall one!
Happy baby!
After Dinosaur World, we drove around Glen Rose a bit and checked out a few of their tourist spots... like Brookshires.  Haha.  But also a little gift shop, and their farmers market (which was a really old guy in a pick up truck - we got honey!).  It was a very nice little outing, something we needed for sure!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Can't Have a Dentist as a Friend...

Several days after his last round of dental work, which included an extraction and a filling, Preston randomly told me, "I love Dr. Blake [the dentist] and I'm gonna invite him to my house someday!"  This kid did so well, it was unbelievable... especially since Michael and I were up all nite trying to stop his bleeding.  He never once said it bothered him or it hurt or anything like that.  He acted like it was absolutely no big deal to have a crazy, cracked, rotten tooth yanked from your skull.  So, with that under our belt, I figured today's appointment to get a filling and a crown on the other side of his mouth would be no big deal at all.  I was wrong.

When Dr. Blake came out to talk to us when we first got there, he motioned for Preston to give him a high-five... but Preston went right in for the great big hug.  Well, fast forward 40 minutes and Dr. Blake comes out looking kinda worried.  He told me that it didn't go as smoothly as the last one, and he wasn't sure why.  He said Preston wasn't as comfortable, didn't cooperate quite as much.  He said Preston kept putting his hands up to kinda swat them away, and trying to tell them to leave him alone.  Uh oh.  At this point, I  thought he was trying to tell me they weren't able to finish everything and we'd have to come back or try something else (like knock him out!).  But he said they got the work done, and turns out they had to give Preston's two back, bottom teeth crowns 'cause the one was worse than they thought.  Then the nurse came out, carrying a red-eyed, frowny-faced Preston on her hip.  She was trying to get him to choose some "prizes" from their bucket and he didn't really want to.  She brought him to me and he wouldn't even look at Dr. Blake, who was trying to ask if he was ok, he just started crying.  =(  Dr. Blake was pretty bummed that Preston didn't like him so much anymore and that they weren't able to have as good of a visit as last time.  I'm not sure why this time didn't go as well, but at least we're done with that for a while.  Dr. Blake called a little while ago to check on Preston, and thankfully I could tell him that he was doing just fine (jumping up and down in front of the tv, watching How To Train Your Dragon), had eaten soup and had some juice.  When I got off the phone, I asked Preston if he still liked Dr. Blake and he said "yes" so I think they'll be ok.  His mouth is still a bit numb and the metal feels weird in his mouth, but I think he'll be fine (and there shouldn't be any bleeding like last time, whew!).   So, now, my boy has three "robot parts" in his mouth!  Geez!

You can tell Preston was distraught and totally not interested in what prizes he got, because these are the stickers he came home with...
Barbie, Hannah Montana and Wizards something-or-other.  What the heck?  Haha!

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

(Wordless Wednesday Post)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cheap Vs Frugal

I call myself "frugal," but I've also always called myself "cheap" and I'm not ashamed.  Right now we have to be as frugal as possible, but even back when we didn't... I still would go out of my way to save money.  I mean, why not?  I just don't see the point of paying more if I don't have to.  Anyway, I read this article earlier, and while some of it is totally spot on, not all of the "cheap" things are so bad!

For example:
  • buy gifts for friends and family from resale shops or garage sales? (Y'know, SOME friends and family LIKE antiques, or things you can MAKE from old/used stuff)
  • cut your own hair? (If I COULD I would!)
  • wear shoes and clothes with stains and holes in them? (That pretty much describes my entire wardrobe!)
  • get old furniture out of the dumpster to re-finish for yourself? (Guilty! multiple times!)
There IS a fine line between being cheap and being frugal... like if you "order the cheapest thing on the menu with a glass of water, ask for all the free extras, and not leave a tip" - I might do most of that, but I would definitely tip the server!).  And does anyone REALLY split their 2-ply toilet paper to save money?  C'mon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homeschooling IS Hard!

As a child, I don't really remember ever wanting to be a teacher when I grew up.  If I did, I'm sure it was fleeting... and most likely based on the fact that teachers got to play with school supplies all day.  I mean, who doesn't love school supplies?  But, really, especially as I got older, I had no ambition to be a teacher.

Then, I became a parent.  And, BOOM!, that automatically makes you a teacher, no matter what!  Add on to the fact that Michael and I made the decision, long before kids were in the picture, that we would homeschool our children.  So, DOUBLE BOOM, I'm a definitely a teacher!

And, ya'll, it's hard.  Not that I figured it would be all sunshine and roses all the time... I knew it would be challenging, of course.  But there are days when I question my sanity.  And this is JUST the beginning... Preston is only in Kindergarten.  We have 12 more years of this.  Oh, and uh... there's another one, right?  I gotta start over in a few years AND do two at the same time?  I am a lunatic.  An absolute crazy person.

There are days when I think... ok, well, Preston isn't even supposed to be in Kindergarten yet, so I could throw him in school next year and we can forget all about this.  Act like it never happened.  But then I remember all the reasons why we want to homeschool in the first place.  And those FAR outweigh the bad days.  Most of the time.  This morning, I don't know.

Maybe it was because I spent a lot of time planning this week's Presidential activities, was totally pumped to get started, couldn't wait to show Preston all the fun stuff we were going to be doing over the next few days.  Maybe it was because Preston woke up on the wrong side of the bed, didn't want to do anything, didn't want to try anything, didn't want to hear me, see me, be near me.  Maybe it's 'cause Preston was all "I wanna go back to bed, my tummy hurts, I can't help it, I don't know lower case letters, I don't like this, my eyeball itches, waaaaaaaa!"  Maybe it was because Callen is about to have another tooth pop through and he is a hot mess of hold-me-no-put-me-down-waaa-waaa-waaa!  Maybe it's because I tend to lose my patience when I know that one of my kid is not trying and the other one won't stop crying.  Maybe it's because I NEVER WANTED TO BE A TEACHER!  Or maybe it's because I'm having a nervous breakdown?  Y'know. Maybe.

I know there are going to be days like this.  And I know there are going to be days when everything goes just right.  I know there are days when things are fun.  I know there are days when things are a little more difficult to explain.  Days when I have no patience.  Days when one kid or the other won't cooperate.  Days when I feel like a freakin' GENIUS because I pulled it off.

I have the quick thought of putting Preston in regular school, figuring out a sitter/day care situation for Callen, and going back to work.  Lord knows, financially speaking, I need to be working or bringing in money some how.  It's been nearly a year since I quit, and we've made it (with some assistance), have not missed a single bill payment.  But, this past month we barely squeaked by, and the credit card balance is going up, up, up (it's been at zero all this time, praise Jesus!).  But, we have one car and Michael needs that for his two jobs.  And, anyway, could I really sweet talk one or both of the Grandmas to watch Callen on a regular basis?  Would I really be happy about Preston being in school?  Would I be able to find a job/make enough money to justify it all?  It just doesn't make sense.  I really feel called to be here with my boys, to homeschool them, to be a 'stay-at-home mom.'  So, I know the Lord will provide and it will get figured out.

And I know that I will continue this homeschooling journey with my sons... and we'll figure that out too!  We'll shrug off the bad days, take pride in the good days and just try to make the most of it all - of being together!  So, yes, it's hard.  It's VERY hard.  But it's worth it.  VERY worth it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Week 22...

- What? Sunday?  Huh?  Well, last week when we told Preston that he couldn't have candy on Valentine's Day and that there were other presents we could give him, he decided that as a present, he wanted a day off of school on Monday.  Ok, no problem.  He didn't get ice/snow days like all the other kids around here over the past few weeks.  But, I found an adorable dentist activity and wanted him to do it before he went to the dentist on Monday, so... I convinced him to do it on Sunday evening.  Haha.  I know, I'm mean!  He didn't mind at first.  Until I had to MAKE him trace the words (it was the See, Trace, Make part of the unit).  He thinks he's beyond having to trace things and doesn't need to do it.  Sigh.  Anyway, he did it.  Eventually.
The 1st page, he was still eager to work on it.
The last page, he got to cut the lines towards the Tooth Fairy.
- As I said, he didn't want to do school on Monday, so we didn't do anything formal.  I was clipping coupons at the table and he joined me.  I kept showing him fun pictures leftover in the ads, and he got excited and wanted to make a collage.  He did a great job of cutting and pasting and arranging the images.  Sshh, don't tell him those are 'school'ish activities.  Haha!
- Grandma Jill got the boys a new book, How Do I Love You?, and Preston read that to his little brother, carefully making sure to show him the pictures after each page.  So cute!

- School got started a little later than usual because we were up all nite due to Preston's dental work.  While he was an amazing trooper through the procedure and showed absolutely no sign that anything had happened to him, let alone a giant, rotting, broken tooth being yanked out, the would started bleeding around 9pm, and would not stop.  Long, gross story short, we had to go back to the dentist as soon as they opened on Tuesday to make sure everything was ok.  It was, mostly.  We're still watching the healing, though.
- Preston did some language and math work in his LED workbook... again, mostly just learning how to read and follow directions more than the actual work it was having him do (find the differences in the picture, circle the ones that match, etc. - he's far beyond that, but following instructions needs practice).
- We also read Bringing In The New Year, since Chinese New Year is still going on.
- We were going to do a few other things, but since we had a rough nite and late start,  I figured we'd just forget about it and play and watch a movie.  We never did get around to watching a movie, but Preston wanted to "play" with his flip book.  I got it at Borders for 75cents, and he practiced writing.  Um, yeah... I can't say no to that kind of "playing."  Haha!

- Nothing too exciting school-wise today.  The boys were ridiculously hyper all morning, maybe because Daddy was home?  Michael switched shifts with someone so Wed-Fri he worked the afternoon-evening shift, and having him home in the morning was a little weird for the boys.
- Workbook language and math skills.
- Preston has been enjoying watching Nova ScienceNow with me lately, so for "science" we watched the episode called "How Smart are Animals?" which was pretty interesting.  There were some mentions of evolution in the video.  And I don't think we'll be watching this week's episode because it's about "how we got here" and I'm pretty sure it's going not going to be about The Creation.
- We read our last Chinese New Year book.  We also read a Valentine's book we forgot to read on Monday, oops.

- Daily devo, workbook stuff, blah blah blah.  Haha, can't help it, it gets redundant... even when it's technically 'new' stuff... to type it out here, makes it look really boring.
- We made a Chinese Lantern, because it was the last day of Chinese New Year.  Preston led me on a parade to the mailbox, so... that was cool.  Heh.
Cutting it out
All done!
I also asked him the review questions on the info we learned about the Chinese New Year, some of it we haven't discussed since the first day two week ago, and he NAILED it, got every question correct!
- We also went to the library today to stock up on President books for next week!  Thanks for the ride, Grandma Jill!

- Daily devotional and reflection.  He drew a picture of himself little, then big which is supposed to be "The New You" we talked about once Jesus is in your life.
- Did a quick review of things we've learned over the past several weeks (months?!).  I kept forgetting to do little reviews with him, so I wanted to see how much info was retained.  He hates being 'quizzed' so it's kinda difficult to really get a feel of if he knows it or not because his automatic answer is "I don't remember" even when I KNOW he does!  But, he did pretty well... so I can't complain.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Maybe I DON'T want him to learn to walk...

Callen isn't walking yet.  He's not even standing on his own.  And at this point, that's ok with me.  'Cause he gets into enough trouble already!  He is a super speedy crawler and he can be in Preston's toy box before you can say "Look at him go!"  He can race from one side of the kitchen table to the next instantly, while you're trying to get him... which means it's IMPOSSIBLE to catch him.  He's actually rather amazing!  Here are a few pictures of him being "trouble"...
Getting into Preston's school stuff.
His safe haven, under the table.
Callen gets into the trash can and recycling bin alllll the time.  He kept going after the Dr Pepper box the other nite.  The boys were in the kitchen, and I came back in from the bathroom and found this craziness...
Preston put Callen's sippy cup into the box so that he could drink it.  It was hilarious to see the baby cruising along in his walker with that big box, stopping to take a drink through it.  Creative, aren't they?

He has tons of toys (mostly Preston's hand-me-downs... he constantly comes in with a toy and goes "Here, Callen can have this"... so they've made their way into Callen's room)... but anyway, the only thing that would get him to settle down the other day was his (for lack of a better word, I call it a...) "booger sucker."  It's a good thing I clean that out between... boogers.
He was inseparable from this thing all day!
Today was warm, so I tried some little shorts on him, and he looked soooo adorable:

Right back into being trouble!
Brother had to get in on the action.

Can't believe that booger is about to be ONE!  I can only imagine how much more trouble lies ahead...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prestonism on Style, Owing Money & Building Sentences...

I was playing with Preston and when we were done wrestling, I noticed my hair was allll crazy.

Me: Oh hey, do you like my hair, Preston?
Preston: Yeah!  It's like Rock Music Hair!!!!


Preston was playing with a toy dinosaur when he suddenly yelled...
"LOOK OUT FOR CREDITORS!!!!" (he meant predators, but... that too!)


I was making lunch, and Preston was drawing and writing at the table, he suddenly smacked his head...

Preston: "THE PYRAMID!"
Me: Huh?  The Pyramids?  Like, in Egypt?
Preston: No, like goes at the end of my sentence!  Pyramid.
Me: Oh, the period, not pyramid.  You know what a pyramid is?
Preston: No, but it doesn't go here in my sentence apparently.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Everything is a Health Concern These Days...

I ran across this on a questionnaire/survey I was filling out:.
Ummm...I hope that's covered by my medical insurance.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011, part two

Warning: Contains really icky tooth pictures! If you're squeamish, don't scroll down!  Don't say I didn't warn you!

Preston was in and out of the dentist's office in just over an hour.  I couldn't believe it.  I thought it would take much longer!  Apparently he was great... very brave and cooperative.  They had to extract a back top tooth, put in a spacer and do a filling on the back bottom tooth.  And even though the 'happy gas' and whatnot from the visit has long worn off, he's still not acting like it bothers him one bit.  What a trooper!   

He brought home the tooth they extracted in a cute little "Lucky Tooth" ring.  Pretty bizarre, especially when I got a look at the tooth they yanked.  Ready for this?

And then, THIS is why it had to be removed!
Gahhh, I know... disgusting!!!
Seriously, what the heck?  Part of his tooth broke off at some point, and the insides, nerves and whatnot where just... there.  We never knew it was like that until last week, and before that he only complained a few times about his tooth hurting... like literally he maybe mentioned it three times.  And he mentioned it just a few days after Michael had his teeth worked on, so honestly I thought he was just saying it to be like Daddy.  The dentist the first visit said he couldn't believe that Preston wasn't in a lot more pain.  Me too, seeing this!  Geez!

So, they pulled that tooth and had to put in a spacer so that the other teeth around it wouldn't grow into it's place before the real adult tooth descended into it's proper spot.  We made the spacer thing sound really exciting to Preston so that he wouldn't be freaked out at having metal in his mouth.  We told him he got to be part-Robot now... THAT made it just fine by him!  Haha.  I tried to take a picture inside his mouth so HE could see what it looks like in there...
Yeah, it's not pretty.
The metal part you can really see is what's keeping it in there... it's wrapped around the tooth next to the empty space.  It'll fall out when that baby tooth falls out, which probably won't be for a few more years.  

I wish that was it for dental work for a while, but sadly... he has to have a filling or two more and a crown put on a few teeth on the other side of his mouth.  But those should be a breeze compared to this, and since he did so great with this... no problem!

He came right home and had spaghetti dinner, then icecream and has been jumping around, acting fine.  Nothing slows him down!  He did feel like he needed to 'rest' for a few minutes to help his mouth heal.  Hehe.

Taking a break.
My mom got back from her trip to Chicago this evening, so on their way home from the airport they stopped by for a quick visit, and brought the boys more Valentine's gifts.  They got a cute stuffed kitty and doggy, Chicago t-shirts and cards.  So, despite a dentist visit, I'd say they had a nice Valentine's Day after all!


P.S. We had a rough nite!  Just after Preston's shower, around 9pm, the wound started bleeding.  A lot.  It continued on and on throughout the nite.  We tried to keep him up, keep pressure on it, rinse it out... the blood just kept coming.  When it would slow down, we'd let him sleep, but then we'd check on him and find a big pool of blood on his pillow, then stat over.  He wasn't in any pain, thank the Lord, but there was just a lot of blood coming from the wound.  We tried all kinds of things throughout the nite to help him, but all he wanted was for us to leave him alone so he could sleep, poor thing.  Finally, this morning we got in first thing to see the dentist again.  He said it was good that we brought him back in so he could look at it, clean it up better and see how it's healing.  The spacer goes down into the place where the tooth used to be, so if Preston bites down just a little bit 'off', it can re-injure the wound.  That's why it just kept bleeding, plus the tooth had signs of infection and the gums still had some too I guess.  There were just a bunch of different things causing it.  But, it looks much better now, no more bleeding since this morning... and, of course, Preston is still feeling fine... you seriously can't slow the boy down!  Michael and I were pretty worried and up most of the nite, I hate not knowing what to do for my child.  I'm thankful for a great pediatric dentist, though, 'cause he made me feel 100x better, and assured me that what we were doing was right and that everything is gonna be fine.  Whew.  We're still watching it, 'cause that spacer post might be more trouble in the future.